Afghan envoy defends US raids

Ambassador tells Al Jazeera civilian deaths are "a price that we have to pay".

    The US military has promised to care for the relatives of those killed in a US raid [AFP]

    "It's not just the cost of the Afghan people; it's the freedom, it's the security of Afghanistan, of Pakistan, of the world," Jawad said.

    'Proper apology'

    The envoy also said that Afghans would understand that mistakes by US forces would be made, as long as there was a full apology.

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    "If there is a proper apology, and there is a good explanation, and that's exactly what we have been asking from our American friends in the past ... then I think the people understand," he said.

    Hundreds of civilians have been killed in operations by Afghan and foreign forces, an issue that has angered residents and increased pressure on Hamid Karzai, the country's president.

    Karzai has also angrily condemned previous deaths, describing the US raids as "unacceptable". 

    The casualties have also been a major source of friction between the Afghan government and the West.

    "People know that if these kind of operations are not conducted then we have to deal with the terrorists and the Taliban in the same villages and the same area - we have no option but to confront them militarily," Jawad said.

    'Tragic loss'

    A 13-year-old boy who survived the US raid on his home overnight on Wednesday told Al Jazeera that his mother, brother, uncle and another female family member were killed.

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    Night-time raid on home leaves civilians dead
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    A woman who was nine months pregnant was wounded and lost her baby.

    Brigadier-General Michael Ryan, a US military spokesman, said in a statement late on Thursday: "We deeply regret the tragic loss of life in this precious family."

    Colonel Graig Julian, a US officer, told Al Jazeera: "When it appears that we have accidentally killed innocent civilians, we are very sorry about that.

    "That is not why we came here. We came here to provide security for the Afghan citizens."

    Violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest level since the US-led invasion to overthrow the Taliban government in 2001, despite a growing number of foreign troops.

    US, international and Afghan forces are battling a resurgent Taliban movement strengthened by fighters in Pakistan carrying out cross-border attacks.

    In the latest clashes, Afghan and US-led multinational forces said they killed 27 fighters in two separate battles in the southern provinces of Helmand and Uruzgan on Friday.

    A spokesman for Helmand's governor said the toll could be higher, with up to 36 people killed and 18 others wounded in one battle.

    In a second incident in Helmand, six police officers were killed and seven wounded by suspected Taliban fighters in Nava district.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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